I can’t get this scene out of my head. A room filled with nurses in the Oval Office, not social distancing, not wearing masks, most wearing scrubs, and bowing to a President who bullied them into submission when one dared to mention PPE.
COVID19 has highlighted how nursing leaders and organizations continue to remain silent on issues they deem political. This is our downfall, this our weakness, and it puts us squarely in the middle of a pandemic ravaging our workforce because leaders won’t challenge the highest levels of government.
Nurses who do speak out are punished, silenced, shamed into obscurity, lose their jobs, or get reassigned. Do we have a gap in nursing courage to speak truth to power, especially to an administration that is vindictive? We need to end our silence, even if it hurts.
Published by Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN, FNASN, FAAN
Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN, FNASN, FAAN, is a Nationally Certified School Nurse (NCSN), currently in her 22nd year as a New Jersey school nurse in the Camden City School District. Robin is the Director for New Jersey to the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) Board. She is proud to be a Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Fellow and past Program Mentor. Robin is the honored recipient of multiple awards for her work in school nursing and population health. These awards include, 2019 and 2020 National Association of School Nurses President’s Award, 2018 NCSN School Nurse of the Year, 2017 Johnson & Johnson School Nurse of the Year, and the New Jersey Department of Health 2017 Population Health Hero Award. Robin serves as faculty in the School Nurse Certificate Program at Rutgers University-Camden School of Nursing, where she teaches the next generation of school nurses. She was presented the 2018 Rutgers University – Camden Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award for Part-time Faculty. Robin writes a weekly blog called The Relentless School Nurse. She also writes a monthly column in My American Nurse, the official journal of the American Nurses Association. Robin’s work is included as a case study in The Future of Nursing Report 2020-2030. You can follow Robin on Twitter at @RobinCogan.
View all posts by Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN, FNASN, FAAN
5 thoughts on “The Relentless School Nurse: Nurses Won’t be Seen Until We are Heard.”
I agree 100% Robin this visual speaks volumes. We NURSES have much work to do.
Thanks Jane…I appreciate your message!
I believe in speaking up and speaking out. I have never been fired for expressing my opinion and thoughts,but I have been talked about, maligned, and called a trouble maker, rebel rouser, and pain in the ass. I don’t care because I will always speak up for the ones who cannot speak for themselves. How can we rally the nurses? There are so many of us.
We can have influence, but we must take it for ourselves.
Thanks for you message Sharon! Would love to hear your thoughts about rallying nurses to speak out. I started this blog as one way to shine spotlights on issues.
One thing nurses are silent on is that if they studied their nurse practice acts, they would see they have grounds to file complaints to the BON. The managers and administrators who have retaliated and denied proper PPE may have violated conditions of licensure. I have tried to put this remedy out there. Professional organizations will not comment. Media will not include it in their coverage. Hospitals know how to game OSHA and union grievances. A hearing to defend licensure before the BON? They don’t have it in their playbook. Can’t anybody out there think outside of the box? Don’t you want something in your toolbox for the second wave?